Blast controls 2nd half, dodges Ambush, 12-10

Healey talks of playoffs as team improves to 10-13

January 31, 1999|By Keith Schildroth | Keith Schildroth,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

ST. LOUIS -- With the Blast tied at the half, coach Kevin Healey stressed the importance of playing a sound third quarter yesterday afternoon against the St. Louis Ambush.

Healey had watched his club come apart Friday night in Baltimore against the Kansas City Attack. The Attack defeated the Blast by nine points, and Healey didn't want a repeat performance at Kiel Center.

Playing smart soccer and frustrating the Ambush most of the game, the Blast won, 12-10.

"We talked about three things at halftime," Healey said. "We didn't want to give up any counter-attack goals; we wanted to double on their guys in the corner; and we didn't want to give them any free kicks outside the box."

The Blast (10-13) took Healey's advice, and it worked.

"We want to concentrate on the third quarter," Healey said. "We had a bad third quarter. [Ambush goalie] Kevin Hundelt came on as a sixth attacker with 1: 20 left, but the Ambush sputtered and didn't even produce a scoring chance.

"This was a big win for us," Healey said. "We talked about the playoffs before the game, and this was a big step in that direction."

Forward Franklin McIntosh said coming back after the defeat to Kansas City was a plus.

"The fellows worked hard, and everybody did their job," McIntosh said.

Ambush player-coach Daryl Doran has seen enough. He watched the club struggle for the second consecutive game at home.

St. Louis (14-11) last lost two straight at home in the 1995-96 season against Milwaukee and Cleveland. Doran isn't waiting for a try at three losses in a row.

"We didn't play well at all today and we need to make some changes," Doran said. "There was no intensity at all. We won enough balls to score but we didn't finish at all. I need to shake things up. Losing two in a row at home is inexcusable. There are a lot of experienced players not doing the job."

Baltimore dominated the third quarter to extend its lead to 12-8. Doug Neely scored at 6: 42 to the near post. Barry Stitz and Denison Cabral scored one-point goals off Tim Henson after Nando Hernandez was called for a handball outside the box.

The Ambush offense vanished in the quarter. St. Louis had five shots and Khalil Azmi only had to make two saves.

The Ambush struggled in the first half to gain an 8-8 tie. After a slow start in the first quarter, the Blast scored twice late in the second quarter to tie the game.

Tarik Walker beat Mike LaPosha and shot under Hernandez at 12: 21 to make it 8-6. The Blast tied the game at 14: 33 when Carlton Williams couldn't clear the ball inside the box and Danny Santaro scored.

Joe Reiniger scored twice in the first quarter, both off restarts started on nice passes from Kevin Hundelt. Mark Moser knocked one in off a Blast defender at 12: 14 for a 6-2 lead, and Neely scored at 14: 57 to the upper right corner to make it 6-4.

Pub Date: 1/31/99

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